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Industry on Campus Innovation Talk with Fraunhofer

How can test and demonstration facilities be part of long-term partnerships?
That was the topic of the ‘Industry on Campus Innovation Talk with Fraunhofer’ on April 29 2021 hosted by Innovation Centre Denmark in Munich. 
In Southern Germany, there is a strong innovation environment - especially within Industry 4.0 - with a lot of interesting players in industry as well as on the research side. There are good examples of long-term industry on campus partnership between companies and research institutions.
One of them is Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (Fraunhofer IPA) in Stuttgart.
"Fraunhofer is the biggest organisation for applied research and development services in Europe, Fraunhofer is recognized for its role in building bridges between universities and companies, including SME’s, in Germany and abroad,” said Ulrik Kjølsen Nielsen, Research Attaché at ICDK. 

WATCH OUR VIDEO FROM Innovation Talk and learn from the experiences of Fraunhofer IPA and the Application Center Industrie 4.0 here:

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Application Center Industry 4.0 

In 2015, Fraunhofer IPA opened the Application Center Industry 4.0 as one of the early test and demonstration facilities.
The Application Center received a €3.5 million funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of Baden-Württemberg to conduct research for four years on Industry 4.0; production systems, real time manufacturing control and additive manufacturing. The aim was to start several strategic cooperations between research and industry through industry on campus labs. 
At the Innovation Talk, Petra Foith-Förster, Research Group Leader at Fraunhofer IPA, emphasised four showcases of the Application Center: The Autonomous Production, Digitization of Value Creation, The Personalized Product and Human in the Center. 
She also highlighted the long-term partnership on AI solutions for connected sheet-metal manufacturing with the German company TRUMPF, producing laser machines, as a success. 
This lab started in 2015 and has been extended until 2025. The idea is that the questions, TRUMPF seeks answers to, will be solved in a very close collaboration between TRUMPF and Fraunhofer researchers. This means that employees from TRUMPF are working at Fraunhofer IPA.
The original Application Center ran for four years, until 2019. But the facilities are still there, and some of the demonstrators are still in use.
As the ministry decided to continue the funding with an extra €20 million, S-TEC was established as the Stuttgart Technology and Innovation Campus. S-TEC consists of six centers with one core re-search area per center offering various scalable types of projects: from Quick Check to Enterprise Lab.
“It has been a success. We are growing,” said Petra Foith-Förster. 
It is still a challenge to get smaller and medium size companies (SME’s) into long-term collaboration as they usually do not have the budget to invest in a long-term strategic collaboration. However, the Quick Checks and Exploring Projects offer ideal funding conditions for SME’s.
“Fraunhofer - as well as other research institutions - receives money from the ministry, which we have to give to the industry as Quick Checks and Exploring Projects. And it is not only up to Fraun-hofer to decide on the applications, rather it is agreed in a consortium,” explained Petra Foith-Förster.
“The idea is that companies bring in their problems. As soon as we have a problem or a Quick Check accepted, we can work and solve the problem.”
And it works well. Since 2019, 88 Quick Checks and 25 Exploring Projects have been running. A lot of these projects have also turned into long-term collaborations between companies and research institutions.

A Danish perspective

For a Danish perspective on the same topic, Peter Tommy Nielsen, Head of Department, FORCE Technology, shared experiences from the Danish project AM Link, embracing aspects of 3D printing. FORCE Technology is a GTS company, with the aim to enable more companies to apply new re-search and technology.
AM Link is a partner network of Danish and European companies, which gives companies access to 3D printing competencies. The goal of the network is to ensure that the growth potential of the latest additive manufacturing technologies is maximised. 
“The basic idea is that we can embrace any idea within 3D printing. We are not bound by technology available at FORCE Technology. Or the material. We have access to it all by collaborating with the industry and specialists within additive manufacturing,” said Peter Tommy Nielsen.
It is all about working together - about using the network.
The beginning for AM Link dates back to 2013, where a lot of new products made by printing appeared. These products needed validation to see if they could perform similar to how they were used to. And this is where AM Link got involved. Today, AM Link supports mainly the Danish industry with testing and validations. 

Save the dates 

ICDK and Baden-Württemberg International will in collaboration host two Industry on Campus Innovation Talks on June 29 2021 15-16:30 and July 1 2021 15-16:30.

For more information, contact our Research and Innovation Attaché, Ulrik Kjølsen Olsen:
+49 171 309 6314